30 May Road Trip through Maine: Nature, Food, and Glamping
Maine has so much to offer—we love exploring the state’s abundance of nature, spotting a variety of wildlife, enjoying the vibrant cities and adorable small towns, and dining at fantastic restaurants. This past year, one of our photo and video projects sent us to Maine. And me being the opportunist I am, couldn’t resist padding in a couple of extra days to take a short road trip through Maine. Our job was a photo project with KOA combined with a video project with Terramor Outdoor Resorts in Bar Harbor, Maine. The entire trip was a fantastic time—both on set and off!
We had one day on the front end of our trip and one and a half days on the back end of our trip to explore both Portland and Bar Harbor. It wasn’t much time, but we sure packed in a bunch of fun adventures. During our free time we ate lobster rolls, explored Acadia National Park, wandered around Bar Harbor, and spent a night in downtown Portland. Read on to find out what adventures we had at Acadia, things to do in Bar Harbor, what our favorite restaurants were, and where we stayed during our road trip through Maine.
Adventures at Acadia National Park:
We didn’t have a ton of time to spend in Acadia National Park, but we did manage to explore quite a bit during our visit. We have a full post about all our adventures in the park coming up, so stay tuned! Our favorite adventure during this visit to the park was Hiking the Bubbles Trails. This trail consists of two shorter trails that connect, and the trails are around 1.5 miles round trip. It’s short but sweet and the views from both the North Bubble summit and the South Bubble summit are fantastic!
Another stop that we enjoyed was catching the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain. To catch the sunrise, we had to make an advanced reservation to drive to the summit, and our 3-mile drive up the mountain started at 3:00 a.m. It was an early morning, but the sunrise was spectacular. When you watch the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain (during the summer season), you will be the first in the continental USA to see the sunrise. We spent a couple of hours at the top of the mountain watching the sky change from black, to orange, to blue. Eventually, we made our way to town for a 5:15 a.m. breakfast at the only place in town that was open—Jordan Restaurant. Thankfully, it was tasty because we had a full day of work ahead of us!
Some of the other stops we made in Acadia National Park were Jordan Pond to see the pretty water and landscape, as well as Jordan Pond Restaurant to taste test their famous popovers.
We also drove the 27-mile Park Loop Road, and we made plenty of stops along the way. One of our favorite spots was the almost tropical looking Sand Beach with soft sand, boulders, and lots of sun.
Downtown Bar Harbor:
Bar Harbor is an adorable seaside town filled with great restaurants, shops, parks, and more. We spent some time shopping in the various boutiques and bookstores and found plenty of items we wanted to take home with us. There are a couple of breweries in town and plenty of spots for coffee and specialty snacks such as ice cream, popcorn, whoopie pies, and baked goods. History lovers can tour a historic mansion, join a historic walk, or go on a ghost tour.
If you want a nature fix, you can hop on a whale watching tour, a sunset cruise, a puffin trip, a lighthouse cruise, a fishing charter, a sailboat, or even a scenic flight tour to scope out the area from above. Biking and paddling are great options to see the area, as well. Plus, Acadia National Park is so close that it’s practically right in town. The town of Bar Harbor may be quaint, but it is packed with fun things to do!
Portland is much larger than Bar Harbor and feels more like a city, but it is still an adorable and historic town. We didn’t have too much time to explore Portland, but we did get to pop into a few shops, walk along the historic harbor, and have a couple of meals in town. Our hotel was located right in town, so it was easy walking distance to many of the sights downtown.
Portland has many of the same types of activities that you can find in Bar Harbor but just on a larger scale. You can go on boat tours, fishing or lobstering charters, explore museums and historic sites, tour breweries and distilleries, join a walking tour, catch a show at the theater, shop, dine, bike, kayak, golf, see lighthouses, wander around botanical gardens, relax at a spa, and so much more. One night in town isn’t enough to see all the sights. We definitely want to head back again soon!
Our Favorite Restaurants and Food:
Eating All the Lobster Rolls
On our way from Portland to Bar Harbor, we took the scenic route and stopped for a lobster roll along the way. There are plenty of popular lobster shacks throughout Maine, and one that I kept reading about was the hugely popular Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, ME. Several of the reviews about Red’s Eats also mentioned Sprague’s Lobster located directly across the street. We decided to head to Wiscasset and see what the lines looked like as we were on a bit of a time crunch. Well, we arrived around 11:00 a.m., and the line for Red’s Eats was down the block and around the corner while the line at Sprague’s Lobster was only a few people deep. We heard that the lobster rolls were just as good at Sprague’s Lobster, so we took our chances and hopped in line. Luckily, we timed it just right because the line quickly grew behind us. I’m not sure how the two rolls compare, but mine was absolutely delicious! It was definitely the best out of the three lobster rolls I had on this trip.
Another spot I ordered a lobster roll from was Stewman’s Lobster Pound in Downtown Bar Harbor. This roll ranked as number two on the list. And last (but still great!) was the lobster roll at The Chart Room. Yum to all!
Side Street Café
Side Street Café is such a great little spot in Bar Harbor. We actually had dinner here on our first trip to the area years ago, and we went there two more times on this most recent trip! The funny thing is that Side Street Café was the one restaurant that kept getting recommended to us over and over again.
I tried the lobster roll here years ago, and it was very good. This time around, I ordered the BBQ Chicken Salad and Jena’s Jam…which literally was my jam, aka a rice bowl with cauliflower, sweet potatoes, black beans, and so much more. Micah got the create your own mac and cheese twice and a burger once. We really enjoyed the variety of options on the menu, and all our meals were delicious. We will definitely head back here for another visit again someday!
Two Cats Restaurant
Another restaurant we kept hearing as a recommendation was Two Cats Restaurant in Bar Harbor, so we had to check it out! Two Cats Restaurant is only open for breakfast, and it sure gets busy. We had a 45 minute wait when we arrived at about 9:00 a.m., but it was well worth the wait. Micah ordered the French toast and I had an omelette filled with avocado, cheddar, spicy potatoes, and topped with salsa. The omelette came with spicy potatoes, a homemade biscuit, and strawberry butter on the side. It was all fantastic!
Jordan Pond House
Our first stop in Acadia National Park was the Jordan Pond House, which is a restaurant located right along the shore of Jordan Pond. Since the late 1800’s, Jordan Pond House has had the tradition of serving afternoon tea and popovers on the lawn.
The picnic tables outside on the lawn looked adorable, but our table was located inside the restaurant, which was cute, as well. We each ordered a set of two popovers with jam and coffee. The popovers seemed huge when there were placed in front of us, Thankfully, they are hollow in the middle, so they weren’t quite as filling as we thought they’d be. The strawberry jam on the warm popover was delicious and the perfect pick me up. In addition to afternoon tea, Jordan Pond House is also open for breakfast and lunch. It is located right next to Jordan Pond and provides great views of the surrounding landscape.
Jordan’s Restaurant is another cafe we visited twice. Our first stop was after the early morning sunrise on Cadillac Mountain. Jordan’s Restaurant was the only restaurant open in town, and we were there so early we were done eating at 6 a.m. It felt as though we had already had a full day under our belts! We went again on our last day in town, as well. Some of our favorite dishes here were the ham and cheese omelet and the blueberry pancakes with the blueberry sauce.
Mount Desert Bakery
We stopped at Mount Desert Bakery in Bar Harbor to grab a quick lunch before heading back to Acadia National Park on our last day in town. This cute bakery serves both breakfast and lunch with a menu full of sandwiches, soups, salads, bagels, baked goods, coffee, tea and more. We both ordered a sandwich and couldn’t resist getting a whoopie pie to share. The whoopie pie was giant and oh so delicious! They have several tables inside if you’d like to dine in, but it would also be a great spot if you are looking to grab a to-go lunch for a picnic in the park.
Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream
One afternoon while we were taking a break in Bar Harbor, we stopped at Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream for a snack. The ice cream is handmade in small batches with real ingredients, and I loved the variety of flavor options available. Some of the flavors that intrigued me were Maine Sea Salt Caramel, Bay of Figs, Blueberry Basil Sorbet, and Cinnamon Cardamom. In the end, I went with the Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter, and Micah ordered the Cookies & Sweet Cream. Both were delicious, and I’d love to head back to test out more of their ice cream!
There weren’t many restaurants open on the Monday night that we were in downtown Portland. Most of the restaurants in town were still under restricted hours, and there was no indoor seating due to the pandemic (Bar Harbor on the other hand was fully open at the time). Anyways, we lucked out and Duck Fat, one of the restaurants I really wanted to try, was actually open. Plus, it happened to be right around the corner from our hotel. We tried our luck with a walk-up table and had to wait about an hour, but the wait was well worth it! We dined on poutine, French fries with a flight of dipping sauces, cauliflower salad, and milkshakes. It was an interesting combination all together, but overall, each dish was deliciously fantastic!
We decided to pop into Hi-Fi Donuts for a quick breakfast before our flight home, and we are happy to report that it did not disappoint. Our order consisted of a breakfast sandwich, hash browns, donuts, and coffees. We split everything to get a mix of salty and sweet, and it was the perfect combo to start our morning. We enjoyed the nice 20-minute walk to and from our hotel and then made our way to the airport for our flight home. I may have even stashed one of the donuts in my carry on for a snack later in the day! My future-self (and Micah) definitely thanked me for that one.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at four different hotels throughout our road trip through Maine. Three of the hotels were one-night stays and the other accommodation was for the remaining five nights. We started off with one night at the Hilton Garden Inn Portland Airport, which was a short walk from the airport terminal. Because we arrived around midnight, we couldn’t pick up our rental car until the next morning. The hotel was clean and a very convenient option, but not much else to write home about.
Holiday Inn Resort Bar Harbor
The next night, we made our way to Bar Harbor and used points at the Holiday Inn Resort Bar Harbor. We had a partial ocean view room, and the hotel was way nicer than we had expected. It was clean, too!
The pool area was beautiful and overlooked the ocean, and we spent some time wandering the paths along the shoreline during sunset. We also had a pizza for dinner at La Bella Vita, and it was quite tasty.
Terrramor Outdoor Resort
For the bulk of our trip, five nights, we stayed at Terramor Outdoor Resort. We were filming a video project at Terramor and doing a photoshoot at the nearby KOA, so the resort was our home base, complements of the resort. Terramor is a new branch owned by KOA, and it is a luxury glamping resort. We absolutely fell in love with the resort during our stay even though we were running around and working the entire time we were there.
The tents come complete with king size beds, rainfall showerheads, pour over coffee, cozy robes, Pendleton blankets, coolers, screened-in patios, bonfire pits, and so much attention to detail. Plus, the smell inside our tent was divine—it was a mixture of the wood walls and Teakwood and Tobacco scented diffusers, which I ended up purchasing when I got home. I love the scent so much!
There are several different types of tents with different features. Some of the tents sleep five, others sleep two, and several tents even have an outdoor shower in addition to the indoor one! You check in for your stay at the gorgeous lodge, and the lodge is home to a restaurant, bar, cozy couches, fireplaces, a store, and a gear outfitter. There are also walking trails throughout the property, as well as a pool, hot tub, lawn games, a pavilion, and more. Staying at this resort is a splurge, but I loved it so much that I’m trying to find time to take my mom there on my own dime.
AC Hotel Portland Downtown/Waterfront
For our last night in town, we made our home base at AC Portland hotel right downtown. We loved this spot—the design of both our room and the rest of the hotel was beautiful. Plus, it was walking distance from many sights and restaurants in the downtown area.
We walked to both dinner and breakfast, and we had fun exploring Portland on our way to and from the hotel. Spending our last night here was a great way to cap off our road trip through Maine!
Have you ever been on a road trip through Maine? Which stop would you like to explore most?
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